McLaren: Improved performance not as simple as just copying Red Bull

McLaren says any inspiration it has taken from Red Bull's Formula One car to shape its latest upgrade package only tells part of the story about its step forward in performance at the last two races.

After a disappointing start to the year, McLaren appeared to make step forward at last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix when it introduced a significant upgrade to Lando Norris' car.

That upgrade is now on both cars at the British Grand Prix, and Norris and teammate Oscar Piastri benefitted from the improved performance to qualify second and third for Sunday's race.

After Saturday's session, Lewis Hamilton, who qualified seventh, pointed out similarities between McLaren's upgraded bodywork and the championship-leading Red Bull.

While team principal Andrea Stella said McLaren's design office had taken inspiration from Red Bull, he stressed that it was not as simple as just copying the fastest car.

"Every team takes inspiration from any other team," Stella said. "Teams are equipped to try and absorb IP from looking at the photos, from looking at the cars on display [in the pit lane] on Friday.

"So you do take inspiration from the other cars, but taking inspiration or even looking at the photo doesn't mean that you copy the geometry, you don't install it in your CFD run it in the computer simulation or in the wind tunnel, and the car lights up in terms of downforce.

"Normally what happens is the performance goes down, because your car is already optimised around what you have done up until that point. Somehow, the key element is understanding that some concepts have more potential that will allow you to develop faster and for longer.

"And here is where you need to have the right people at the right place. And I think I would like to mention one name here. Peter Prodromou is leading the aerodynamic development at McLaren and is doing an exceptional job in terms of setting the conceptual direction but also having organised and having inspired the entire aerodynamic group so really well done to Peter."

Stella said the opportunity to view the underside of Sergio Perez's Red Bull when the Mexican's car was lifted off the circuit by a crane at Monaco had shown McLaren that there was still potential for further development of its own floor.

"The reality is that when you look, for instance, at the floor of Red Bull in Monaco, you'll see that there's another step," he said. "So there's, again, even in this area we work to do.

"The good thing is that the aerodynamic department and in general, the engineers at McLaren have kind of accelerated this development. And now we are finding directions and we are finding performance quicker, than we were in condition to do before."

Asked how much the photos of the Red Bull in Monaco had influenced the latest upgrades, Stella added: "I'm sure all teams got inspiration from looking at the Red Bull car, like they get inspiration from all the photos that all teams get off any other car.

"Pretty much all teams have, they have professional photographers that take as much opportunity as possible. And this is inspiration, you know.

"But I would detract off our aerodynamic department if I said, 'oh, yeah, we saw that and now we have the solution'.

"You see that and you get some maybe-you-can-do-this, but then you have to do your own job and your own iteration, otherwise you don't get to something that actually works."